Re-thinking Joy

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, - James 1:2, ESV

When I first read this passage, I was perplexed. I was wondering how could I do this? I’ve discovered in my studies that If I understand joy simply as a feeling, I will not be able to find the joy that James speaks of; but James here in the text doesn’t command me to feel a certain way but rather to think a certain way.

James is describing a way in which we are to thoughtfully consider how to think of trials. In some translations, it says “Consider it all joy.” It’s a call to re-think how we look at joy itself. A call to look at trials as means of God’s good work in our lives. Seeing them as a means to cultivate our character. The joy that James speaks of is a deep sense of trust in God who is good no matter what. It’s a joy that springs forth from the heart of trust, a heart that believes in a God that works all things together for good, for those that love him (Rom 8:28). If I believe this idea that God is good, and he has my best interests in mind, then even the hard times I could perhaps hold on to joy.

Much of this re-thinking of joy comes down to a matter of perspective, and focus. The writer of Hebrews says that we must focus on Jesus as the source and goal of our faith, if we are to endure our present trials. We, like Jesus must look past the pains, and remember the promise. (Heb 12:2)

1) The Biblical meaning of joy is a deep sense of trust in God as good no matter what. Take a few minutes to share how God has been good.

2) What does Hebrew 12:2 teach us about Christ and Joy?

3) What does Paul tells us about how we can re-think the Christian life in Romans 12:1-2.